Tidal vs Spotify – Comparison Between Music Streaming Services

Music streaming apps today are expanding listeners’ experience more than ever. And Spotify deserves all the praise for single-handedly pioneering the industry. After dominance for a good part of a decade, other music streaming services like Tidal, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and even Apple Play are now giving Spotify a run for its money. Now, what sparks up the Tidal vs Spotify debate is which platform has the best audio quality.

But before you narrow down the comparison to a single feature, there’s a lot more to these leading music streaming apps that you should know.

From pricing plans to social features, music discovery to artist following, and lastly, the sound quality and stream support of both services should make up for a deserving comparison. So, let’s let the music do the talking from here on!

Spotify Vs Tidal: The State of Play

Spotify is arguably the complete music streaming app that stays true to its roots. Its emphasis on variety, personalized playlists, and social sharing platforms still goes unparalleled in the market. Whether it is a nostalgic playlist, entertaining podcasts, or news about musical events nearby, Spotify gives you all under one roof.

As we are talking about artist following, Tidal, too, is definitely one to consider. Owned by the renowned Rap star Jay-z, it is the first music streaming app owned by artists. And as an artist-owned app, Tidal pays much sweeter incentives to new artists than any other music streaming app.

But promoting emerging artists is only the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with Tidal. Tidal gathers most of its heat from its unique feature of dominant sound quality that matches the old CDs.

Tidal vs Spotify – Pricing and Subscription

Now, we’d like to see how both of these apps stand toe-to-toe on some key music-streaming features as much as you do. So, let’s get started and find out!

SUBSCRIPTIONPRICEFEATURES
Spotify Individual$9.99/monthOne Account, Listen to music ad-free
Spotify Duo$12.99/month2 Premium accounts, Duo Mix: a playlist for two, ad-free music
Spotify Family$15.99/month6 Premium accounts, Family Mix: a playlist for your family, Spotify Kids: a separate app made just for kids.
Spotify Student$4.99/monthHulu (ad-supported) plan, SHOWTIME, Listen to music ad-free

Spotify offers a free plan supported by ads, where you can’t download music for offline listening. Or, skip more than six songs in an hour on the mobile app. If it doesn’t sound compelling enough, you still have access to Spotify’s ginormous library of 30 million tracks. And that’s a lot!

But if you want to amp up your music streaming experience, you can subscribe to Spotify’s premium plan for $9.99. Also, Spotify’s incentive for students brings down that price to $4.99, making it really attractive. Spotify’s most expensive subscription plan lands at $15.99 for the family. In a Spotify family subscription, you can link up to 6 different devices to that account and download music for offline streaming.

Suppose your budget is the only factor preventing you from subscribing to a music streaming app. In that case, you’ll have to go with Spotify.

SUBSCRIPTIONPRICEFEATURES
Tidal Premium$9.99/monthStandard sound quality (320 Kbps)
Tidal HiFi$19.99/monthLossless High Fidelity sound quality (1411 Kbps)
Tidal Family Premium$14.99/monthIncluding up to 5 additional family members totaling 6, Standard sound quality (320 Kbps)
Tidal Family HiFi$29.99/monthIncluding up to 5 additional family members totaling 6, Master Quality audio (up to 9216 Kbps)

Tidal does not offer a free streaming plan. And you’ll have to pay up for the extra quality. Tidal offers two subscription plans, and both of them do not come cheap. The modest Tidal subscription plan stands for $9.99 a month. At similar rates to the Spotify Premium Plan, it offers the same music quality at 320 KB/s. For a more refined audio experience, Tidal has a HiFi subscription plan. It can be bought at $19.99 a month, where you get access to lossless CD-quality audio. The sound quality for tracks gets much superior with this subscription plan as you unlock Tidal’s 25,000 Hi-Res soundtracks.

To counter Spotify’s family subscription plans, Tidal offers two options. Tidal Premium Family plan at $14.99 a month. And the Tidal Hifi Family plan at $29.99 a month. Both the subscription plans allow for offline downloads and streaming from up to 5 devices.

So, suppose you want more bang for the buck. In that case, Spotify offers more modest subscription plans over Tidal and allows one more device on family plans. But if shedding extra dollars on eargasm doesn’t slow you down, Tidal offers a much higher quality of music.

Tidal vs Spotify – Sound Quality

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If lossless audio tracks do not exactly hit your audiophile ears’ right spots. You may want to stick to Tidal. Being a major marketing factor, Tidal slays all competition when it comes to music streaming quality. Tidal offers four audio streaming qualities on its HiFi subscription plan, the normal, high, HiFi, and MQA.

The “Normal” stream setting is most preferred over cellular data usage as the other options consume too much data. Still, the most common setting is “High” to strike a balance between data usage and music streaming quality. The “High” settings on Tidal streams music at 320 KB/s (CD quality), which is the same as Spotify’s high-quality option.

Although, Tidal does take the lead from here as it offers two superior options than high as well, HiFi and MQA. Tidal Hi-Fi offers an exciting rate of 96kHz/24bit for streaming music that enriches the audio quality. Though Spotify recently announced to release a new streaming quality, “Spotify HiFi,” but we still have a lot of time to see it in use.

The MQA or Master Quality Authenticated is a Tidal-only feature. Even though you only have a little over 25,000 tracks MQA verified. They’re still a lot to make the most of your listening experience. The MQA focuses on recreating the original acoustics heard and experienced by musicians at the studio.

Spotify offers five music streaming qualities on its app, low, medium, high, very high, and automatic. While the “Very High” quality tops up at 320 KB/s (CD quality), it is not available on the free subscription plan.

However, the only prerequisite to enjoying Tidal’s Superior music streaming quality is to have a high-quality headset or music system. As you can’t really tell much of a difference between the streaming qualities of both otherwise.

Tidal vs Spotify – Content Catalogue and Contributions

Tidal vs Spotify Content Catalogue

Tidal and Spotify both boast an overwhelming library of tracks. However, Tidal does take the lead by having over 60 million tracks, which is 10 million more than its competitor. But judging the content and music playlist by the sheer number of tracks is cutting it too short.

Every music streaming platform will have downs and missing tracks from their libraries, though barely significant. But what marks the real difference between Spotify and Tidal is how those tracks are curated into playlists and presented to listeners.

One of Spotify’s unique and praised features is the “Discover Weekly” playlist. It is a playlist weaved to your musical preferences and suggests the best songs to match your taste. You can discover new talents easily as Spotify is quite lenient in accepting tracks from contemporary artists. You can submit a track as an artist via a third-party studio or even send your single directly to Spotify.

And to counter that, Tidal’s Rising Talent is appreciative of new artists too. If an artist gathers the right attention and catches the curator’s eye, he gets offered exclusive free support. Tidal’s free support includes professional photography, the music featured on the front page, and tour support. Moreover, Tidal takes it all a step higher by offering higher royalties to artists.

While both music streaming apps do wonders in suggesting personalized playlists and tracks, Spotify is much more unique and vaster. While Tidal is leaning more towards the hip-hop culture and tracks, Spotify’s library is extensively categorized and versatile. You’re likely to find a low-key indie song suggestion on Spotify than on Tidal.

Coming over to the videos and podcast support, both the apps hold different grounds. Tidal’s exclusive video catalog of music and production videos and a dedicated section gives it the go-ahead in aesthetics. But if you’re more of a podcast follower, Spotify can quite easily be an alternative to any podcast app. With unique features like a sleep timer for podcasts and one of the most extensive podcast collections, there is not a single mainstream show you’ll miss out on!

To sum it up, Tidal is arguable more supportive of artists and contributors to the streaming app. But what gives Spotify an upper hand over Tidal is that it is almost entirely listener-centered.

Tidal vs Spotify – Music Discovery

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As much as we like listening to tracks and collecting them, we all appreciate a good recommendation. Tidal and Spotify are neck-to-neck when it comes to song suggestions, with Spotify having a slight edge.

Both music streaming platforms learn about your music taste through their algorithms. Based on what genres you listen to the most, the apps suggest similar tracks and playlists.

Spotify curates 6 “Daily Mix” playlists based on the different moods and genres of tracks you listen to. These playlists have your most heard track and similar suggestions. Other than that, Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” remains the most significant difference-maker against Tidal in music discovery. Discover weekly suggests up to 30 tracks that compliment your listening habits and are updated regularly.

Tidal, on the contrary, does not have a “Discover weekly” or a similar feature. But to make up for it, Tidal suggests eight playlists for eight different genres that you listen to. Please note that if you listen to less than eight genres, you’ll have lesser playlists.

Spotify also has a “Release Radar” playlist to help you keep up with new releases from your favorite artists. Moreover, you have access to six different tabs on Spotify to streamline your music discovery.

  • Genres & Mood
  • Podcasts
  • Charts
  • New Releases
  • Discover
  • Concerts

Tidal does an excellent job catching up to the music streaming giant through its “Tidal Rising” feature. This helps you discover new releases from artists worldwide. However, it may not be specific to the artists you follow as on Spotify.

You can also access Billboard’s top trending hits from the “Top” feature on tidal. But as that feature is already present and much more sophisticated on Spotify, Spotify drops all pins here again.

Tidal vs Spotify – Social Features

Social features play an essential role in proclaiming the better interface between Tidal and Spotify. Spotify has a ton of social features that allow you to share your unique music taste with friends and discover new and exciting music.

You can link your account to Facebook and import all of the contacts that have their accounts linked to Spotify. Or, you can add friends on Spotify through their username or distinct profile Id. After which, you can see what your friends are listening to, the artists they are following, and the playlists they are making. You can have a pick at their playlists and expand your discovery charts.

Another exciting social feature that Spotify has is linking your Spotify account across various platforms. You can associate your Spotify account with most social media platforms and let others know what you’re listening to.

But suppose you’re a possessive enthusiast who doesn’t like sharing their playlists with people. In that case, you can always turn the feature off from Spotify settings.

Spotify offers another key social feature by letting you know how many followers an artist, track, or playlist has. Not only that, but you can also see the number of monthly views for tracks and playlists, which makes it easier to decide what to put on.

On the contrary, Tidal allows you to share tracks to your linked social media accounts. And that’s about it! Looking at the social features, you’ll find out that Tidal is a lot more restricting than Spotify. Though Tidal made huge leaps in trying to have a piece of Spotify’s pie, it still has a lot more expansion to do in the social aspect.

Tidal vs Spotify – Other Features

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With the major rocks avalanche settled above, let’s draw a comparison of the two apps’ misc features.

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify has a unique feature of “Spotify Wrapped,” which wraps up your year in musical statistics. You get infographics outlining how much time you spend listening to music, who were your top heard artists, and what geographical area you have been listening to music for the whole year. You can then share these features with your friends and social media too!

Tidal, on the other hand, does not have a similar feature.

Offline Support

Another distinguishable and very needed additional feature of Spotify is that it allows you to play MP3 files from your local directory. In case you want to rewind the clocks to the old CD collection days and still stream the music through the same media player. You can do it only with Spotify.

However, downloading and keeping music for offline streaming is offered by both platforms. Though Tidal lets you download hi-res audio files, it can take up much more space and data when compared to Spotify.

Driving-apps Integration

Listening to music on the go is necessary, but so is paying attention to the road. Again, both the music streaming apps are easily integrated with Apple Car, Android Auto, and Waze. Still, Spotify takes its safety integration a step further by supporting Google Maps as well, which Tidal doesn’t. Integration with these driving apps lets you easily control music without leaving the app.

Crossfade and Sleep Timer

Crossfade and sleep timer are non-significant but quite essential elements that Spotify packs on. With Spotify, you can choose the “Crossfade” feature from settings to eliminate the short pause when tracks change. Instead, you get a smooth transition and a continuous flow of music.

Sleep timer, too, is a useful additional feature for Spotify. You can set your timer preferences when listening to music or podcasts, and be sure that they won’t be running all night long. On the other hand, Tidal lacks both of these valuable features.

Spotify also features an easy way for deleting the account and importing your playlists to a different one, which is a support feature not so prominent in Tidal.

The Final Verdict

If you want a sure-short winner from the Tidal vs Spotify battle, Spotify clearly has the lead. But that’s not to undermine Tidal’s superior sound quality and artist support programs. While Tidal promotes new and upcoming artists and brings audiophile satisfaction. Spotify focuses more on the listener-artist relationship.

Choosing one out of the two depends on what you expect out of the app. If you’re specific about music quality, need music-related videos, and at times, exclusive content, nobody does it better than Tidal. But, if music discovery, social sharing, listening on the go, integrating old playlists, and lower budget is what you have in mind, look nowhere else but Spotify!

That said, feel free to drop us a comment if you think we’ve missed out on something important. Also, let us know your preference in music streaming apps when it comes to Tidal vs Spotify.

Mohammad Ibrahim
Ibrahim is a passionate writer and tech-savvy. His craving for the latest tech releases and news, combined with a charm to put sentences together, strives for more than just viewer engagement.

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